The latest wave of technology hitting retailers could turn the lighting in your home into a communication network. Visible light communication, or VLC, doesn’t just automatically detect motion or daylight; it uses lighting to send signals to your smartphone. While VLC hasn’t quite hit the residential market yet, large retailers have already begun experimenting with it to track customers and send them information as they browse. For example, if you can’t find a product in your favorite store, as long as you have the VLC app you can tap into the lighting network to help you find what you’re looking for. While the applications of VLC are just getting started, it’s no surprise that the new technology could work its way into our homes in the future. Here are four ways VLC may change the way we look at lighting.
1. Automatic Dimming and Brightening
One of the simplest innovations offered by intelligent lighting systems like VLC is an automatic dimming and brightening feature. These systems can detect light levels and respond by amplifying or minimizing their light output. For example, imagine the cable lighting in your home automatically responding to sundown by gradually growing brighter. You would never need to worry about wasting electricity; the smart lights already know when to turn on and off.
2. Smartphone Control
If automatic dimming and brightening just aren’t enough, bring your smartphone into the action. Intelligent lighting is ready to sync to and communicate with your phone. While this could have myriad applications for homeowners in the future, right now it means that if you own a mobile phone you already have a high-tech remote in your hands. Sync your smartphone with your cable lights, lamps, and other lighting systems and use your phone to turn them on and off or dim them.
3. Motion Sensors
Besides detecting daylight, VLC lighting systems can also detect motion. Imagine moving from the living room to the kitchen and having the lights in your home illuminate your path as you walk. Guests who are new to your home could walk from the bedroom to the bathroom at night without fumbling for light switches. Additionally, because of the natural light detection, they wouldn’t have to worry about adjusting their eyes to harsh lights in the middle of the night. VLC technology means that soft, dim, automatic lights would help guests navigate their way around your home.
4. Energy Savings
In addition to being new, intriguing, and the latest high-tech gadget on the scene, VLC also has practical applications. Motion detectors, light sensors, and automatic dimming features mean that no electricity goes to waste. Even those who are skeptical of smart lighting will appreciate the savings it generates, which are sure to be reflected in your monthly utility bill.
VLC is just getting going, but with all of its potential for retailers and homeowners alike, the future looks pretty bright – no switch required.